Peace River helps patients get back in balance
The fear of falling doesn't have to interfere with your day-to-day activities, nor do you have to travel far for treatment. The Peace River Regional Center for Balance Disorders (CBD) is the necessary place for you if you have experienced vertigo, falls or instability due to any of the following conditions: vestibular disorder, vertigo/dizziness, Meniere's disease, stroke or BPPV (benign paroximal positional vertigo).
"Many of our patients have orthopedic injuries, but we find many broken bones could have been prevented if they had proper balance beforehand," said Tom Adderley, director of rehab. "My team and I are pleased to change peoples' lives for the better."
According to the CBD, falls, fall-related injuries and the fear of falling can significantly diminish the length and quality of human life. Moreover, they can decrease a person's physical and social activities, and the ability to live independently. Falls are the leading cause of injury in younger and older adults, and the leading cause of death in those over 85 years old.
Adderley said he was attracted to his profession because he was a rehab patient due to injuries as a teenager. Before joining Peace River two years ago, Adderley had two clinical affiliations in New Jersey, and was a clinical manager at Venice Regional Medical Center.
Adderley works diligently with his staff of licensed physical therapists, Steve Michaud and Kristina Schwint, and assistant, Callie Thompson. Using brand new, state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment technology, the therapists are specifically trained to deal with dizziness and balance disorders that look beyond traditional clinical approaches to detect and treat these disorders. Everyone's case is unique, so the therapists create individualized treatment programs.
Adderley explained that the three main sensory systems that contribute to balance are eyes, vestibular system (inner ear) and somatosensory system (when you know where your body is in space). If a patient has no problems with the first and third systems, but is still experiencing vertigo, a technique called the Epley's maneuver will treat this problem.
Epley's maneuver is performed by the therapist holding a patient in a sitting position first for safety and to observe eye movements. The patient then lies on his or her back, with the head turned to the side at a 45 degree angle for 30 seconds. The head will be turned to the other side for another 30 seconds. Next, the patient will roll on his or her side and turn the head facing downward for 30 seconds. After returning to a sitting position, the head should remain tilted a bit down for one minute.
Steve Michaud, who has over 20 years experience as a physical therapist, explained, "BPPV is caused by calcium carbonate crystals in the inner ear that break loose from where they're supposed to be and go elsewhere. The Epley's maneuver will reposition the crystals in their proper places."
Michaud continued, "Some people have had dizzy spells for years. After the Epley's maneuver, they no longer experience them. Typically, the first treatment is successful, but some patients may need more than one."
On a normal day, the CBD will treat 9 patients with each treatment lasting 90 minutes.
The CBD is located in the Rehab Gym at Peace River Regional Medical Center, 2500 Harbor Blvd., Port Charlotte. Call 941-766-4903 or visit www.peaceriverregional.com.